USA vs. France: Live Commentary…The USWNT Looking For Finals Access.

After 120 mins, Hopo had a huge Solo on Sunday...

One knockout down–in dramatic fashion–two to go.

Today the USA takes on France for the right to face the winner of Sweden vs. Japan for the Women’s World Stein.

Becky Sauerbrunn comes in for the red-card carrying Rachel Buehler.

The United States with one less day of rest than Bruno Bini’s ladies for France.

Kickoff at 9am P.T. Coverage on ESPN at the same time; stream available at ESPN360.com. (We’ll try to find others.)

Starting line-ups shortly as the United States faces a much more zonal-responsible team than Brazil.

Your comments below.

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80 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/07/13 at 7:47 AM

    I will say I think it is a good move to bring in Sauerbrunn for Buehler rather than move another player like Lepeilbet into the spot and then bring in a player for Lepeilbet’s vacated spot. We saw how such a “double-switch” move worked for the men’s team vs. Mexico.

    GO USA!

    Reply

    • Posted by Maura Gladys on 2011/07/13 at 8:04 AM

      Also, if Sauerbrunn struggles or plays really poorly, Sundhage has the option of switching LePeilbet and bringing in Cox. So there is some wiggle room.

      Reply

      • Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 8:30 AM

        I think it could have gone either way .. Cox gives us more attacking power out of the LB spot and CB is Lepeilbet’s natural position. Sauerbrunn hasn’t played at all this WC yet but that said Cox only has 65-ish minutes. Either way I think we should be fine .. I haven’t seen much of Sauerbrunn except for the friendlies against Japan, how is she with pace n all? I’ve heard she’s pretty calm around the ball and with it at her feet and is pretty strong with the forwards but is she fast enough to combat France’s speed? And have we heard if Rampone is staying over on Lepeilbet’s side of the defense? I really think that helped Amy out tremendously against Brazil with Christie’s speed on the inside.

        Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/13 at 5:04 PM

      That’s a bad analogy. The USWNT has a lot more depth than the USMNT and has a deeper and better player pool.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Nelson on 2011/07/13 at 8:18 AM

    prediction from MR. NELASO HERMES GAUTIER YAGUE>..spell l check please. ” ”

    final solution is;: e equals m c squared.

    game ends in tie.

    penalties tie til the second round.

    i’m might be wrong.

    the end.

    Reply

  3. Posted by tim on 2011/07/13 at 8:41 AM

    Any links to streams online, besides ESPN3?

    Reply

  4. Posted by B on 2011/07/13 at 8:47 AM

    Any links for radio streaming?

    Reply

  5. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 9:10 AM

    HAO is amazing! great goal by Cheney

    Reply

  6. The USWNT movement and fluidity to add numbers to the center of the midfield is refreshing to watch. They are disrupting France well. Also their calm to maintain possession. Looking like a whole team playing well as a team. Would love to see Rapinoe in and Cheney switch over for Rodriguez sooner then later.

    This is quite a tactical match to watch.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 9:54 AM

    defense is withstanding so far .. midfield is losing possession far too much. France can’t mark in the back worth **** and Abby is begging for another header to go in. I think if we get another quick one, we can hunker down, not take too many more risks getting forward and ride this thing out.

    Reply

  8. Posted by daniel on 2011/07/13 at 9:56 AM

    france is bossing the middle with their extra midfielder and we’re generally allowing it to happen. they can all hit it pretty well and one of them is going to get in, as they nearly already have. still, i think the us takes this, 2-1.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:09 AM

    Lloyd giving the ball up almost every time she gets a touch is starting to frustrate me ..

    Reply

  10. When will a Rapinoe or Lori Lindsey come in and Rodriguez come out? If the coaches think we will get away with losing the central game and a fatigued Boxx they are wrong.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:14 AM

    nothing Hope coulda done there .. lucky ball in. Alex Morgan in for Rodriguez

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/07/13 at 10:19 AM

      Why start Rodriguez when she has to be subbed for being ineffective in every match?

      Reply

      • Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:27 AM

        I actually like her starting cuz her and Abby link up well when Abby can get a flick on for Amy making a run behind the defense. She’s effective if our central midfield can hold the ball right outside the back n make a slip pass to her making a run. She’s ineffective obviously when it comes to headers or defense really. This time of game doesn’t fit Amy at all cuz all we can do is have our backline bomb the ball forward because our midfield, mostly Carli Lloyd can’t hold the ball for more than 3 seconds n give them a break.

        Reply

  12. Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/13 at 10:19 AM

    Hard to not like France. Lot’s of talent and flair.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Maura Gladys on 2011/07/13 at 10:20 AM

    Really don’t want to see Krieger come out right now.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:22 AM

    Lloyd coming off .. finally. ugh

    Reply

  15. Why didn’t the coaches make the Rapinoe change before the Morgan? Was it not obvious this was needed earlier?

    Here we go lets go USA.

    Reply

  16. Posted by kaya on 2011/07/13 at 10:23 AM

    Sorry, but if this isn’t an indictment about the US lack of technical approach to the game, I don’t know what is.

    Reply

  17. Good formation now if Wambach tracks into the withdrawn position a little more

    Reply

  18. Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/13 at 10:33 AM

    TSG, your love affair with Alex Morgan is starting to look a lot like Bradley’s love for Robbie Findley. All legs no brain.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:37 AM

    ABBY WAMBACH HEADER BABY!!!!!

    Reply

  20. Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/07/13 at 10:40 AM

    What a finish!

    Reply

  21. That was a sublime finish from Morgan. Most players would blow that one, beautifully done.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Paula on 2011/07/13 at 10:47 AM

    And right on cue, Alex Morgan shows up. :P

    Reply

  23. Posted by merlinwoadie03 on 2011/07/13 at 10:49 AM

    CPT JEAN PICARD OF THE USSENTERPRISE repeat time 7 foo’s

    Reply

  24. Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:50 AM

    great last 15 minutes of the match .. that finish was awesome. great game ladies, we got this final!!!! USA USA USA

    Reply

  25. Posted by kaya on 2011/07/13 at 10:54 AM

    That was a really fun game to watch… but the truth is, 2 of those goals owe a lot to Sapowicz being a very poor keeper.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kenny on 2011/07/13 at 10:59 AM

      you can say that again .. on another thought, i thought Sauerbrunn did awesome today. there was only one time i can point out that she made a mistake but i believe it was Box that was behind her covering her spot so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

      Reply

    • Posted by Paula on 2011/07/13 at 11:01 AM

      Well, most in the ESPN booth were warning about that since before France finished their first match.

      Reply

    • Posted by daniel on 2011/07/13 at 11:15 AM

      i sort of feel bad for them, too. the french midfield played a pretty system and ran a possession clinic on the US for about 20 mins in the second half. just like the MNT we get bossed in the middle with our 4-4-2. hopefully the winning mentality/athleticism prevails again in the final.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/13 at 5:13 PM

        The complaining over the lack of domination in terms of possession is a bit overwrought.

        Dominating possession means you have more chances to do something that will help you win.

        It doesn’t guarantee that you win. It’s what you do with the ball when you have it that counts.

        France outshot the US 25-11, but the US made more of theirs count.

        Reply

        • Posted by Paula on 2011/07/13 at 5:47 PM

          Again, something highlighted in France’s first group match w/ Nigeria. They dominated possession but could not actually finish.

          Reply

        • Posted by georgecrossnyc on 2011/07/13 at 6:00 PM

          “Dominating possession means you have more chances to do something that will help you win”

          Erm, no. It means you had more of the ball.

          ‘Dominating possession’ is not the same as creating chances. You can have a lot of the ball and not actually create that much – if you remember Graham’s title-winning Arsenal sides, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about…

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/07/13 at 7:33 PM

            Why ask whether he remembers Graham’s title-winning Arsenal sides…when you can ask whether he remembers today’s Arsenal side?

            By the by, I think there’s a substantial chance they drop out of the top four next year.

            Reply

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/13 at 7:46 PM

              No you do not understand me. My point is that Graham’s teams did not generally have much possession of the ball, but would not allow many chances and grind out a win 1-0 through their one chance… remember the chants of “boring boring Arsenal” or “one nil to the Arsenal”?
              Wenger’s teams create a lot, but are wasteful and are obviously defensively suspect.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/13 at 8:08 PM

              I think they’re both examples of the same point. Current-day Arsenal passes the ball around a lot but without enough skill to pull a Barcelona and cut through a defense consistently; hence they have possession without chances. Acquiring Gervinho is an interesting move because he’s pretty direct and might actually decide to attack goal once and a while as opposed to being overly patient.

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/13 at 8:12 PM

            “Dominating possession means you have more chances to do something that will help you win”
            Erm, no. It means you had more of the ball.
            ‘Dominating possession’ is not the same as creating chances. You can have a lot of the ball and not actually create that much – if you remember Graham’s title-winning Arsenal sides, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about…”

            When you say “Graham’s title-winning Arsenal sides“, are you talking about the teams he managed or the ones he played on? Both sets of teams were very interesting.

            You are misinterpreting what I wrote. Perhaps I should have been clearer.

            Of course, in order to score a goal you must first have possesion of the ball even if only for a few seconds.

            But, after you get as many goals as you need, the rest is either entertainment or boredom.

            In terms of the US teams, all I care about is they get what they need. The game in this country is still about 4th to 6th rate as major sports go. It needs the boost only winning can give you in America so I don’t particularly care how they get there as long as they do. Those who expect to see Joga Bonita ( when even Brazil don’t do that anymore) and then rip the US for not playing that way need better access to You Tube or classic DVD’s of teams with players like Dzajic, Bogecivic,Cruyff, Eusebio, Pele, or Best.

            “chances to do something that will help you win” is not the same as
            “creating chances“ i.e goal scoring opportunities.

            If you are dominating possession that just means you have the ball more than the other team. Therefore you have more time to create chances.

            It doesn’t mean you have the ability to first of all, create chances and second of all, do anything about the chances you create.

            US fans talk all the time about dominating possession and playing the “right way” as if doing that and doing it well meant winning was assured. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen all kinds of teams do that (dominate possesion and “play the right way”) and lose.

            But right now, for both the USMNT and the USWNT, the wonderful euphemism, “getting a result“ is more important then whether they play an artistically pleasing style of football.

            I happen to find both US teams entertaining to watch for any number of reasons. If you are one of those who seem almost personally offended by the playing style of one or the other of our teams just stop watching them and come back when their style evolves to where they more closely match the style to which you are entitled. It might take a while though.

            Reply

    • Posted by georgecrossnyc on 2011/07/13 at 6:07 PM

      I agree. The 2nd and 3rd goals definitely have to go down to *basic* goalkeeping errors.
      I’ll give credit for the forward getting in front for the 1st goal, but I’d love to see that from behind the goal in real time / speed – keeper did look a little slow getting down, but maybe I’m being harsh.

      Reply

  26. Posted by Maura Gladys on 2011/07/13 at 11:03 AM

    Tony DiCicco is just over the moon for this team.

    Reply

  27. Posted by Ralph on 2011/07/13 at 11:04 AM

    Morgan may be young and inexperienced, but in her limited minutes she looked more dangerous than Rodriguez all game long. One goal, plus almost two other poached ones. Pia’s love affair with Rodriguez is starting to remind of Bradley’s love affair with he who should not be named (JB).

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/13 at 5:21 PM

      Rodriguez is a striker. She has 66 caps and 17 goals. She has been slumping the last threee games or so for the US.

      JB is a leftback. He has 37 caps and two goals. In his last three games for the US his last one was terrible and the two before that, in the World Cup, were pretty good.

      I don’t see much of a comparison

      Reply

  28. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/07/13 at 11:11 AM

    It would only be right if we played Sweden again to end this story

    Reply

  29. Posted by kaya on 2011/07/13 at 11:27 AM

    I’m of course happy our girls are through, but I can’t help but feel proud of all the ladies out there. I guess that’s another difference between the men’s and women’s game.
    Unlike the Nordic countries, and even relative to the UK, the French are very much like other Mediterranean countries in almost having a contempt for women playing the game. The French women so far outclass their men’s team [cue pun] it’s not even a level playing field.

    Reply

  30. Hope the coaches learn lessons from the last 2 matches. Seems one of the main reasons the US is put under such distress is subs not matching the greatest need (at the time they come in). The intial gameplan of the match to have players come into the middle “on help defense” worked for the first 25 minutes, after that a change was needed to strengthen the middle of the pitch. Players were tired well before 50 minutes.

    In the early part of the second half, the CMs were starting to be fatigued and overwhelmed by opposing numbers. Pia’s gameplan match in and match out seems to be hold on with the players out there as long as possible/ or until going down 1 goal then insert Morgan for Rodriguez as the 1st sub, every time.

    That sub is productive, but should not be the go-to in every situation. Cheney for Lloyd, or Cheney above Lloyd was needed BEFORE Morgan coming in. It’s what the situation called for, and they could have easily gone down by another goal.

    Reply

  31. Other thoughts:

    – Backline = Stout.
    Buehler has better positioning slightly and understanding with Rampone but Sauerbrunn really is not a bad 2nd option. If Sweden goes through would she have better pace to track their runs?

    – Cheney starting up top with Abby makes the most sense. The sum advantage of the dynamic wingers in Rapinoe and O’Reilly, plus Abby and Cheney to control the ball in the middle, allows this team to dominate from the beginning. Out-ways Rodriguez and Abby complimenting each other.

    – Otherwise Cheney instead of Lloyd. Early goals I don’t think validate the standard lineup that just is not as solid.

    – Have no problem with Rodriguez starting if in 4-4-2 above Cheney. She makes good runs. Morgan still has some to learn and is a great sub. Rodriguez will have better days.

    – Credit to coaches and players on possessing, not taking too many long bombs, and playing on the ground. Tremendous difference. The coaches really have been good, just was getting very frustrated watching the early second half.

    Joy watching this team play.

    Confident about Sweden/Japan upcoming.

    Reply

  32. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/07/13 at 12:15 PM

    I’ve had my mind on this for a while. But I can’t help but notice tthat Amy Rodriguez = Robbie Findley and Alex Morgan = pre-injury CD9. We’ll just say Abby’s last name could also be McBeast

    Reply

    • Is it any wonder they both wear the #20…it’s almost like the US version of the #9 shirt.

      Reply

    • Posted by Alex on 2011/07/13 at 1:44 PM

      Abby Wambach and Brian McBride should make a superstar US forward for US Soccer fans! It is their patriotic duties. Imagine all the headers, all the glorious headers…

      Reply

  33. Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/07/13 at 12:55 PM

    Anybody else watching the Sweden/Japan game? Japan is playing well, dominating posession.

    Reply

  34. Posted by EFG on 2011/07/13 at 5:11 PM

    I haven’t quite figured out why Rodriguez starts every match when everyone knows she’s coming out right on 65 minutes after being anonymous. The script keeps repeating itself. There must be a way to get both Rapinoe and Morgan in from the start, but the final probably isn’t the best place to try. Maybe it is something we see following the World Cup.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/13 at 8:28 PM

      If you read interviews with players who sub a fair amount, such as JF Torres and Benny F., they have said that the game changes in the second half.

      Someone like Rodriguez, even if she is off her game is still out there making her runs and softening up her defenders. So when Morgan comes on, it’s a different game for her. The game “opens up” a bit more. Defenders are a little more tired and are used to another player’s moves.

      Plus, while she is in a slump now, Rodriguez is a proven starter and she could get back into it at any time; who knows when that will be? It could be right now.

      If not today then you’ve got a proven boost in Morgan.

      Morgan is a proven “fire starter” sub not a proven starter.

      For this tournament, this formula has worked so why change what works?

      Reply

      • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/13 at 8:44 PM

        I won’t pretend to be an expert on the USWNT and am only basing my opinion on what I’ve seen thus far in the WWC and the friendlies leading up to it. I agree that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but I’m sort of prognosticating a bit, throwing out some ideas. I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to be negative just to nitpick. It has been fun watching the ladies and am looking forward to Sunday.

        Reply

  35. Posted by Steve Trittschuh on 2011/07/13 at 7:24 PM

    Abby Wambach is the Didier Drogba of the USWMNT.

    Reply

  36. Posted by Paul on 2011/07/13 at 8:34 PM

    Pia for coach of the men’s nation team! Seriously, the woman can coach. Beyond her ability to improve her team’s quality of play (over the last four year cycle), understanding the subtleties of substitution (Bornsteinina was not brought off the bench today), and ability to motivate her players to play well for 90 minutes, she has taught her squad how to recognize swings in momentum, and the according changes in tactics. If the US men do what their female counterparts did after France’s goal–took away French momentum by slowing down play (through playing the ball around the back, winning more balls in the middle third, ect.)–then, according to my counterfactual analysis, the US probably holds the two goal lead against Mexico. Pia was able to grind into her vets a tactical sensibility that allowed them to play smart against a French side that looked to be on the verge of gaining a 3-1 victory; instead, it was the US that came away with that score line.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/14 at 3:21 PM

      Pia has the players, Bradley does not.

      It makes a big difference.

      Reply

      • Posted by Paul on 2011/07/15 at 10:41 AM

        Yes and no: admittedly, the talent of the US women are far superior, relative to their game, than the men. Still, evaluating US and Mexico talent before the Gold Cup reveals that the US has an increasing number of players starting and playing for decent teams in top leagues. Yet there has not been an increasing team cohesion or tactical ability reaped from such improvement.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/16 at 10:26 AM

          “Still, evaluating US and Mexico talent before the Gold Cup reveals that the US has an increasing number of players starting and playing for decent teams in top leagues. Yet there has not been an increasing team cohesion or tactical ability reaped from such improvement.”

          “Decent teams in top leagues”?

          Does the US have anyone who even approaches Chicarito who plays and is a star for arguably one of the best teams in the World?

          Rafa Marquez is now a Red Bull but it was not that long ago that he was a regular and a multiple medal winner for Barca. The US has never had any players with a resume to match those two and they are playing together for Mexico right now.

          It’s all relative. In the same time period you are talking about Mexico’s talent base improved dramatically. The USMNT’s pool is better but Mexico’s and other CONCACAF countries have also improved.

          If you looked at the last World Cup the US men’s talent pool would probably be rated in the bottom third of all participants whereas the US women’s talent pool for this World Cup is in the top third.

          Pia has far more options. She does not have a left back problem, she does not have a striker problem, she has no shortage of capable midfielders or centerbacks. Bradley would be delirious with joy if, comparatively speaking, he had half as many options as Pia does.

          Reply

  37. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/07/13 at 9:10 PM

    No Abby is not the Didier drogba of women’s socccer. Drogba scores golazos from 32 yards out and is a disrespectful crybaby.

    Reply

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